Rings Returns with March 9 Card Featuring K-1 Max Vet Taishin Kohiruimaki
The Japanese promotion which launched the careers of such
luminaries as Fedor
Rodrigo Nogueira and Ricardo
Arona has revealed the first details of its March comeback.
founder Akira Maeda
announced Tuesday that former kickboxer Takayuki
“Taishin” Kohiruimaki will make his MMA debut next month under
the Rings banner. Kohiruimaki takes on Englishman Ben Abbott in
a two-round welterweight bout at Rings
“Reincarnation,” set for March 9 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
A three-time K-1 Max Japan tournament champion, Kohiruimaki
compiled a 40-20-2 record in his nearly 13-year career as a
striker. The 34-year-old has not entered the ring since an October
2009 defeat to Gago Drago but began training for his MMA debut last
fall. His opponent, Abbott, also comes from a kickboxing background
and is a pupil of early Rings fighter Lee Hasdell.
Abbott has not competed in MMA since September 2010 and holds a 1-4
Founded in 1991 as a puroresu (pro-wrestling) league, Rings
became one of Japan’s MMA forebears when it began staging mixed
fight cards in 1995. With a network of affiliates throughout Europe
and the Asia-Pacific, the company imported and promoted numerous
future stars, particularly with its “King of Kings” open-weight
tournaments. While Rings itself has been absent domestically for
more than a decade, it has been succeeded by its grassroots
offspring, grapple-centric promotion Zst.
Since 2008, Maeda has used the Rings name to promote The Outsider,
an amateur event infamous for its crowd brawls and rough-edged
competitors from various Japanese subcultures. Prior to January’s
Genesis, Vol. 9,” Japan had not seen a proper Rings event since
Emelianenko defeated Chris
Haseman in the 2002 “World Title Series Grand Final.”
Other matchups announced Tuesday for “Reincarnation” include Zst
Shimizu against Outsider featherweight champion Daisuke
Maku, and a lightweight scrap between Outsider titlist Hisato
Izawa and Russia’s Vitali Krat.
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